The Commissioner of the CT Department of Public Health signed an order on 3/23/20 that allows psychologists, among other specified practitioners, licensed in another state to work in CT without obtaining a CT license for up to 60 days. We reached out to the Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island Psychological Associations to learn if their states are enacting similar orders. Rhode Island DOH is allowing a temporary license for out of state psychologists on an emergency basis: https://health.ri.gov/licenses/ The Massachusetts Psychological Association shared with us that for psychologists who are licensed in other states in good standing, they can practice in Massachusetts up to 12 days per year without having to do anything. According to MPA, “Even a minute spent working means that it counts as a day, but you can do multiple sessions in one day.” Gov. Baker’s March 17 order also expanded licensure options for providers licensed in other states to be able to practice in Massachusetts specifically to support university student: To allow for continuity of care for college and university students, no psychologist may be prohibited from providing telehealth services across state lines to college or university students who have returned home.
The provider community has put together a petition urging Governor Lamont to require all insurers to provide the same fee schedules for telehealth as for in-person care. Here is the link to sign the petition:
Connecticare will be covering 100% of telehealth psychotherapy sessions until May 31st. Spread the word!
APA Free Webinar on Telepsychology Best Practice 101 Series
Compiled by Dr. Meghan Butler, CPA Secretary and CPA colleagues 3-15-20
Until we better contain COVID -19, many CT Psychologists are conducting phone and video sessions. This is th best way to keep your clients and you safe. During these current times, HUSKY (CT Medicaid) is reimbursing for Telehealth (based on our understanding a video platform is required to meet the standards for reimbursement at this time). HUSKY now has active codes to reimburse for these telemental health services. The CT Department of Social Services released two bulletins on Friday, March 13th and a FAQ sheet. Please review them for details.
- https://www.ctdssmap.com/CTPortal/Information/Get Download File/tabid/44/Default.aspx?Filename=pb20_09.pdf&URI=Bulletins/pb20_09.pdf
- https://www.ctdssmap.com/CTPortal/Information/Get Download File/tabid/44/Default.aspx?Filename=pb20_10.pdf&URI=Bulletins/pb20_10.pdf
For those who take private insurance, we encourage you to call each company to determine what telemedicine benefits the plan covers as they can vary from policy to policy. Please keep in mind that most insurance companies ask providers to complete and submit a checklist before granting them approval to provide telemental health services.
Please remember that when conducting telemental health services, you must use a HIPAA compliant platform and complete an additional consent form for telehealth services that must comply with state guidelines. If you would like recommendations for HIPAA-conforming telehealth platforms, Dr. Jared Skillings, Chief APA Practice Directorate recommends that you review APA’s free online article, “Comparing the Latest Telehealth Solutions.” The article reviews three popular telehealth platforms: Doxy.me, thera-link, and Zoom. They asked four practicing psychologists to rate and provide pro/con descriptions for each telehealth platform. Ratings are based on privacy/security, features, ease of use, functionality, and customer support. The psychologists and their practices are diverse in several ways, and their descriptions will help you decide which telehealth platform might best fit your practice.
The National Register is offering its members and those with Trust Insurance a free webinar on telepsychology and the coronavirus next Friday, March 20th at 2 pm EST featuring Dr. Mary Alvord. To find out more, please visit: https://www.nationalregister.org/education-training/webinars/coronavirus-webinar/
TeleMental Health Implementation Checklist for Private Practice
Courtesy of CPA Member Carrissa Phipps, Ph.D. of Small Victories Wellness Services, PLLC in Middletown, CT
☐ Specialized TMH Training
- Consider getting specialized training in the unique ethical and clinical considerations related to TMH services
- Person Centered Tech and the Zur Institute both offer certificates
☐ Get Credentialed with Insurance Companies
- Each insurance company has a unique process for being permitted to bill for TMH services
☐ Verify Insurance Billing Procedures
- Place of Service: 02 – Telehealth
- Modifier: GT or 95?
☐ Create a Unique Consent Form for TeleMental Health Services
- Required by the state of CT
- Must include limitations of TMH (i.e. security risk, technology failure)
- A chance to set client expectations (i.e. privacy, technology, safety)
☐ Develop Paperless Intake Process
- Do you utilize an EHR that has a secure client portal?
- If you plan to use email, do you have a Business Associate’s Agreement (BAA) with your email provider to comply with HIPAA?
- Email encryption services
☐ Develop Paperless Payment Process
- Many EHRs and credit card processors allow for the option to store a client’s credit card information
- Also create a Credit Card Authorization form for clients to sign if you plan to store credit card info (this form serves as the client’s signature for payment)
INFORMED CONSENT CHECKLIST FOR TELEPSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES
Provided by the American Psychological Association. Feel free to use with your letterhead.
Prior to starting video-conferencing services, we discussed and agreed to the following:
- There are potential benefits and risks of video-conferencing (e.g. limits to patient confidentiality) that differ from in-person sessions.
- Confidentiality still applies for telepsychology services, and nobody will record the session without the permission from the others person(s).
- We agree to use the video-conferencing platform selected for our virtual sessions, and the psychologist will explain how to use it.
- You need to use a webcam or smartphone during the session.
- It is important to be in a quiet, private space that is free of distractions (including cell phone or other devices) during the session.
- It is important to use a secure internet connection rather than public/free Wi-Fi.
- It is important to be on time. If you need to cancel or change your tele-appointment, you must notify the psychologist in advance by phone or email.
- We need a back-up plan (e.g., phone number where you can be reached) to restart the session or to reschedule it, in the event of technical problems.
- We need a safety plan that includes at least one emergency contact and the closest ER to your location, in the event of a crisis situation.
- If you are not an adult, we need the permission of your parent or legal guardian (and their contact information) for you to participate in telepsychology sessions.
- You should confirm with your insurance company that the video sessions will be reimbursed; if they are not reimbursed, you are responsible for full payment.
- As your psychologist, I may determine that due to certain circumstances, telepsychology is no longer appropriate and that we should resume our sessions in-person.
Psychologist Name / Signature:
Signature of Patient/Patient’s Legal Representative:
Helpful Tips for Patients
With the spread of COVID-19 many suffer with fear and anxiety. Psychologists have so much to offer our patients and the public as practitioners, researchers, professors and administrators.
- Tips from SAMHSA for patients: https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Taking-Care-of-Your-Behavioral-Health-During-an-Infectious-Disease-Outbreak/sma14-4894
- Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks, https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Coping-with-Stress-During-Infectious-Disease-Outbreaks/sma14-4885
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html